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Frontline: Bush's War

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  • Frontline: Bush's War

    Hopefully many of you are already aware that there is a 4-hour retrospective Frontline documentary on the Iraq war, particularly from the viewpoint of the US government and its executive branch, airing this week on PBS. If you are not aware, hopefully you are now. It can already be viewed online, and as always they are providing transcripts of key interviews and supplemental materials via the website.

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/bushswar/

  • #2
    Re: Frontline: Bush's War

    I saw the first half last night. Incredible stuff. It really shows the war from the perspective of the insiders, from 9/11 on. Almost all the major players are represented (and interviewed) here. The power machinations behind the scenes, particularly Rumsfeld/Cheney vs. Tenet/Powell, are fascinating. It'd make for a great movie if it wasn't all completely true.
    Beatnik

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    • #3
      Re: Frontline: Bush's War

      I saw it also. Very good stuff. It appears to be a very good summary and overview of the other excellent stories Frontline has done on the war.
      Iím not racists, I have republican friends. Radio show host.
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      • #4
        Re: Frontline: Bush's War

        I have to say I am really impressed with the programing PBS offers. I have been going through Bill Moyer's Journal and Frontline and I am very impressed.
        RX-78-2 Gundam EFSF Protoype Close Combat Mobile Suit Armor: Luna Titanium Armament: 2x Beam Sabers, 2x 60mm Head vulcan guns 380mm Hyper bazooka, Beam Rifle, Beam Javelin, Hyper Hammer, Gundam Hammer, shield
        TG Natural Selection admin. Need anything PM me.
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        [tg-c1]

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        • #5
          Re: Frontline: Bush's War

          Yeah, I didn't realize it was a "two parter" so I just recorded the first 2 1/2 hours. Have to catch the remainder later.

          I thought it was a good summary, but nothing particularly jumped out at me as new information. I spent most of the time squinting at the TV and realizing "Oh yeah, I read that guys book..." or just putting a voice and face to someone I'd read about earlier.

          The rest of the time I was reminded of how botched this debacle has been. I rubbed my chin when they quoted Rumsfeld as saying he would be 100% accountable for the aftermath in Iraq, but he wanted the DoD to have 100% control.

          Hmmm...

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          • #6
            Re: Frontline: Bush's War

            This is production is basically a complete re-hashing of the events immediately following 9/11 on up to the present day with regard to Bush's 'war on terror.' The majority of material in this documentary was previously aired, mostly on other Frontline programs. Since I try to watch all of them when they air I recall many of the interviews, however to see them put into chronological order and with the benefit of deep hindsight, this is a sequence of events that no fiction writer could have ever come up with.

            The fact that the invasion of Iraq was pitched and sold to Bush by a few men based on a combination of old cold-war politics, spite and the urgency of the Sept. 11 attacks is an extremely bitter pill. The combined effect of this documentary illustrates that quite plainly, as well as the incredibly difficult position that Bush was put in by the very powerful men that were surrounding him. As to why he would eventually end up favoring the Pentagon (Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz) over Tenet (CIA) and Powell (State Dept), however, may never be known. The interviews, especially with Gary Bernsten, show how the ramp-up for Iraq severely undermined the fight against Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, and may have ultimately allowed the escape of Bin Laden. The contempt for any and all dissent - the Congress (not even to mention the will of the people) and the slight-of-hand that Cheney's office plays with the Department of Justice is simply sickening. If history deems Bush one of America's worst Presidents, one can easily offer up Cheney as the devil on his shoulder.

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            • #7
              Re: Frontline: Bush's War

              Yep. A fascinating part of episode 1 was detailing the creation of (iirc) the Defense Intelligence Agency. Basically, the CIA wasn't coming up with sufficient intel to justify invading Iraq (because there wasn't any), so Rumsfeld essentially created his own intelligence agency within the DoD to do just that - find reasons (read: justification) to invade Iraq.

              Before watching this I thought the CIA dropped the ball with Tenet reporting the 'slam dunk' to the president and so on, but this really showed a classic example of institutional Groupthink - Cheney and others decided decided, pretty much on 9/11 or 9/12, to invade Iraq, and the subsequent time was sprent actively trying to acquire information that agreed with this conclusion while discounting and attacking information and people that disagreed with their conclusion. Nobody, including Tenet or Powell, was immune from having their dissent ignored and their power taken away, all for the high crime of disagreeing with Cheney, Rumsfeld, et al. on the validity of attacking Iraq.
              Beatnik

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              • #8
                Re: Frontline: Bush's War

                Another interesting piece that I had never really picked up on was how Cheney (the Secretary of Defense at the time) missed some critical and possibly nuclear Iraqi weapons targets during the first Gulf War. The CIA, who was at the time responsible for target identification, never knew about the targets. I think that Cheney had it in his head all along that the CIA was inacapable of making a judgement on Iraq, and therefore you have him starting a shadow intelligence department in the Pentagon that would basically serve his needs. This is obviously the wrong way to go about intelligence gathering and analysis, and while it's not an excuse by any means, it at least provides some reasoning behind Cheney's approach.

                I'd also point out the Project for a New American Century when it comes to Rumsfeld, Cheney and Wolfowitz pointing at Iraq on the night of Sept. 11 - they were begging for an excuse to oust Saddam, and they knew this was their golden opportunity. These men had incredibly ambitious goals when it came to American imperialism - about as close as you can get to world domination in the 21st century. With the Sept. 11 attacks, Bin Laden only meant to lure America into Afghanistan (aside from terrorizing the American people), where he believed he could defeat them in the same way he (mistakenly) believed he defeated the Soviets with God on his side. I would bet that the thought of an Iraq invasion never even crossed his mind, and most likely pleased him when it occured.

                The collective material presented here is really pretty amazing.

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                • #9
                  Re: Frontline: Bush's War

                  I am sure the attacks on the Pentagon and WTC were meant to lure us out, I am just not sure how.

                  I feel it was either to as Amosely said to get us to fight in Afghan or to get us out there. By get us out there I mean to have us out in the world stage more or less making a fool of ourselves.

                  However while I do have that in mind I don't support it too much. Based on what I have learned about 9/11 it sounds like the attacks were more about what we did wrong then they did right. Thus I feel I am giving them WAY too much credit by thinking that 9/11 was just meant to lure us out so we could overreact to the threat and have all the problems we are having now. (Economic, military, reputation, etc)
                  RX-78-2 Gundam EFSF Protoype Close Combat Mobile Suit Armor: Luna Titanium Armament: 2x Beam Sabers, 2x 60mm Head vulcan guns 380mm Hyper bazooka, Beam Rifle, Beam Javelin, Hyper Hammer, Gundam Hammer, shield
                  TG Natural Selection admin. Need anything PM me.
                  7th Infantry FTW!!!!!
                  "Snob? Nah...I consider myself more of a PC Evangelist...converting the heathens to The Way." Prophaniti
                  "Windows is like Pokemon you gotta catch'em all." kenshinsama1

                  [tg-c1]

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                  • #10
                    Re: Frontline: Bush's War

                    I've recorded both parts and made it through most of part 1 so far. Really meaty stuff and a must watch.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Frontline: Bush's War

                      Originally posted by RGM-79N_GM_CUstom View Post
                      However while I do have that in mind I don't support it too much. Based on what I have learned about 9/11 it sounds like the attacks were more about what we did wrong then they did right. Thus I feel I am giving them WAY too much credit by thinking that 9/11 was just meant to lure us out so we could overreact to the threat and have all the problems we are having now. (Economic, military, reputation, etc)
                      It would be giving them (Bin Laden's Al Qaeda) too much credit to think that he (or they) would have forseen the attack and occupation of Iraq or the current economic recession. America's own leadership did not forsee it (or else Bush never would have given a speech under a 'Mission Accomplished' banner). I do believe that they (Al Qaeda, but not the Taliban) wanted and anticipated a war in Afghanistan, and we all know they got it. It's unfortunate that the US was not able to finish it, and many in the US military believe that this is because of the gravity and size of the Iraq conflict.

                      Bin Laden has been trying to lure the US into armed conflict for over a decade. He did not succeed until the Sept. 11 attacks. The simultaneous Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 only yielded two guided missile strikes (one of which bombed a pharmaceutical plant). The attack on the USS Cole in Yemen produced no retaliation at all because it fell too close to a Presidential election year. Many in the FBI and CIA believe that the lack of coordinated response set the stage for Al Qaeda to execute the Sept. 11 attacks.

                      Now that Bin Laden is in hiding, I assume it is only intelligence agencies that have any idea of his latest goals. My guess is that he is focused on the conflicts in Pakistan and Afghanistan, which are far from over. He certainly has contacts elsewhere, but his homefront is currently a warzone, and that would tend to occupy one's daily existence.

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